Archive | August 2013

BBC’s Africa debate

BBC opens for debate about their Africa coverage with audience/readers on Twitter, writes Susanne Østhus.

In the upcoming Africa debate programme hosted by BBC, you get the chance to get your questions answered by Peter Horrocks, director of the BBC World Service. The topic for discussion this time will be revolving around the news coverage of countries in Africa and whether media is getting it right. Everyone can ask questions and almost through every social media platform. The programme is aired 30 August and 1 September and the questions asked today will be the basis for the debate. Get on it and ask questions, ends at 1 am Australian time.

I have sent in a couple of questions myself: Does censorship in countries in Africa, such as Liberia, affect your news coverage? Which conflicts in Africa does mainstream media seem to “forget”?

newspaper image for blog

Stock.XCHNG: vlambi

To ask a question on Twitter, you use the hashtag #mybbcafrica at the end of your tweet. They also have a Facebook group, BBC Africa Page. Or you could do it by filling out this form on BBC’s site. Let the questions begin!


I sent in questions through every social media platform available, but was not lucky enough to get a reply. But I did get a retweet from BBC though.

I am a big advocate of using Twitter as a news source, because you are able to digest a lot of information in a short amount of time. Although, when using Twitter as a news medium it is important to be able to distinct verified information from rumors and hoaxes. Open debates such as this one by the BBC are great for a two way communication between media and the audience/readers. You can also be certain that the information tweeted by news organisations is in most cases verified.

All the questions answered by Peter Horrocks can be seen here. I have picked out three questions that I thought were particularly good.

Do you think Twitter is an improvement of media and audience/reader relationship or not? Please share your opinion in the comment section or tweet me at @SusanneTunge


Election in Zimbabwe

After the election in Zimbabwe on 31 July there has been worldwide debate whether or not the election was free and fair, writes Susanne Østhus.

From 1980 to 1987, Robert Mugabe was prime minister, but became head of state in 1987. Mugabe has a history of excluding other parties from the elections, which is one of the main reasons why this year’s election raises a red flag.

Robert Mugabe

Source: Flickr
Photographer: Gregg Carlstrom

Mugabe won the election with 61 per cent of votes, while opposing candidate Tsvangirai had 34 per cent of votes.

The opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, has called for a nullification of the election results.

“Simply because no one was killed, it does not mean the election was free and fair. People were heavily intimidated and there was massive fraud,” leader Morgan Tsvangirai said.

Many voters could not find their name on the electoral roll and therefore were unable to vote. The electoral commission has not yet explained this problem.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) has observed the election and approved of the procedures and called the election free and peaceful.

Australia has also entered the debate and foreign minister Bob Carr was concerned about the voters roll and procedures.

“Given our doubts about the results, Australia calls for a re-run of the elections based on a verified and agreed voters roll”, Carr said.

The US says the election is not credible and has consequently decided to maintain their sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Norway is awaiting the final report before deciding whether it will shape their relationship with Zimbabwe or not.

“It is very important for Norway that countries we cooperate with show a genuine willingness to promote democracy and human rights,” minister of international development, Heikki Holmås said.

The election in 2008 also caused a major international uproar. Morgan Tsvangirai won the first round of this election, but lost the second round to Robert Mugabe.

SADC concluded that the pre-election phase in 2008 was affected by political violence, intimidation and displacement. Therefore the will of the Zimbabwan people was not evident in the election results. Is history repeating itself again in Zimbabwe?

Continuing information on the aftermath of the election will be up when the African Union and SADC releases its final report on observations during the election.

Until then, I would really like to hear your opinion on the election. Fair or a farce? Please comment or vote on my poll, I promise it is not rigged.